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Exchange rate pass-through and product heterogeneity: Does quality matter on the import side?

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  • Bernini, Michele
  • Tomasi, Chiara

Abstract

This paper investigates theoretically and empirically the heterogeneous response of exporters to real exchange rate fluctuations due to the quality of imported inputs and exported output. We develop a model where the production of high-quality products requires high-quality inputs sold in monopolistically competitive foreign markets. The model predicts that exporters using imported inputs have low exchange rate pass-through, but this effect is weaker for firms shipping high-quality goods. This is due to the heterogeneous price adjustments of foreign suppliers selling inputs of different quality. We test the predictions of the model using Italian firm-level trade data for the period 2000–2006. The empirical analysis shows that the imports of intermediates have a significantly weaker effect in reducing the exchange rate pass-through into the export price of high-quality varieties. By showing that the import price of high-quality inputs is less sensitive to exchange rate variations, we provide evidence supporting the theoretical hypothesis that the pricing power of input suppliers weakens the import channel.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernini, Michele & Tomasi, Chiara, 2015. "Exchange rate pass-through and product heterogeneity: Does quality matter on the import side?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 117-138.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:77:y:2015:i:c:p:117-138
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2015.04.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Natalie & Juvenal, Luciana, 2018. "Quality and the Great Trade Collapse," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 59-76.
    2. Sun, Puyang & Hou, Xinyu & Tan, Yong, 2017. "Export Rivalry and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," MPRA Paper 83369, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Mauro Caselli & Paolo Falco, 2019. "Your Vote is (no) Secret! How Low Voter Density Harms Voter Anonymity and Biases Elections in Italy," EconPol Working Paper 26, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    4. Chen, Natalie & Chung, Wanyu & Novy, Dennis, 2018. "Vehicle Currency Pricing and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," CEPR Discussion Papers 13085, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Mauro Caselli & Arpita Chatterjee & Alan Woodland, 2017. "Multi-product exporters, variable markups and exchange rate fluctuations," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1130-1160, November.
    6. Eike Berner & Laura Birg & Dominik Boddin, 2017. "Retailers and Consumers: The Pass-through of Import Price Changes," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(7), pages 1314-1344, July.
    7. Angelo Secchi & Federico Tamagni & Chiara Tomasi, 2016. "Export price adjustments under financial constraints," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1057-1085, August.
    8. Tan, Yong & Zhao, Chen, 2017. "New Exporters and Continuing Exporters under Exchange Rate Fluctuations," MPRA Paper 77244, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Chen, Natalie & Juvenal, Luciana, 2019. "Markups, Quality, and Trade Costs," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1233, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    10. Stefano Bolatto & Marco Grazzi & Chiara Tomasi, 2018. "Export Modes and Adjustments to Exchange Rate Movements," DEM Working Papers 2018/02, Department of Economics and Management.
    11. Chen, Natalie & Juvenal, Luciana, 2019. "Markups, Quality, and Trade Costs," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 446, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    12. Hock Tsen Wong, 2017. "Exchange rate volatility and bilateral exports of Malaysia to Singapore, China, Japan, the USA and Korea," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 459-492, September.
    13. Ciani, Andrea, 2017. "Income inequality and the quality of imports," DICE Discussion Papers 245, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    14. Mallick, Sushanta & Marques, Helena, 2016. "Does quality differentiation matter in exporters' pricing behaviour? Comparing China and India," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 71-90.
    15. Kazunobu Hayakawa & Toshiyuki Matsuura & Sadayuki Takii, 2017. "Does Trade Liberalization Boost Quality Upgrading? Evidence From Indonesian Plant-Product-Level Data," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 55(3), pages 171-188, September.
    16. S. Bolatto & M. Grazzi & C. Tomasi, 2017. "Export intermediaries and adjustments to exchange rate movements," Working Papers wp2004, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    17. Min Zhu & Chiara Tomasi, 2020. "Firms' imports and quality upgrading: Evidence from Chinese firms," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(5), pages 1371-1397, May.
    18. Hakan Yilmazkuday, 2020. "Unequal Exchange Rate Pass-Through across Income Groups," Working Papers 2005, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
    19. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Foreign exposure and heterogeneous performance of Italian firms: A survey of the empirical literature (1992-2014)," Working Papers 300, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2015.
    20. Chen, Natalie & Juvenal, Luciana, 2016. "Quality, trade, and exchange rate pass-through," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 61-80.
    21. Giuseppe Caivano & Nicola D. Coniglio, 2016. "Long-Run Drivers of Current Account Imbalances in the EU: the Role of Trade Openness," SERIES 03-2016, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised May 2016.
    22. Nagengast, Arne J. & Bursian, Dirk & Menz, Jan-Oliver, 2020. "Dynamic pricing and exchange rate pass-through: Evidence from transaction-level data," Discussion Papers 16/2020, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    23. Hu, Cui & Parsley, David & Tan, Yong, 2017. "Exchange Rate Induced Export Quality Upgrading: A Firm-Level Perspective," MPRA Paper 80506, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Importers; Exporters; Quality and exchange rate disconnect;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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